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If it bleeds, it leads!

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Joe Williams, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Had a discussion the other night with a veteran scribe, and we both came to the rather chilling conclusion that, some day sooner rather than later, we're going to see and hear of a newsroom or newspaper executive suite that gets riddled by gunfire from some disgruntled employee.

    Don't get us wrong, we're as horrified by the thought as anyone. But can management continue to cut and slash and squash and crush without some blowback? I know there was the guy at the Miami Herald sometime last year who went bananas and created a hostage situation. The next (il)logical step would be for a displaced (bought out or laid off) newsperson to go postal. It doesn't even have to be someone who has gotten the ax. It could be someone living every day in fear that he or she will be next.

    Sorry if raising the issue scares or troubles anyone here, but let's get real, this is a lot of workplace trauma to be dumping on a passionate, driven, sometimes crazed-in-normal-times bunch of employees with limited alternate job options. Odds are that someone somewhere is gonna snap, no? If it's happening on campuses, it's only a matter of time before it happens in newspaper headquarters. I can already imagine the helicopter video on CNN and colleague sound bites that "He was such a quiet copy editor..."
  2. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    Oh, it's definitely on the horizon.

    When the buyouts morph into layoffs, look out.

    And the security at our place is in no position to head something like that off.
  3. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    My guess would be a JRC paper. It would be funny if it wasn't so serious.

    It is kind of dark to think about it, though the way people are treated and paid relative to education and intelligence level probably creates a tremendous amount of stress, anger and social alienation that I would say the profile fits.

    Why are we treated like pond scum? Our bosses hate us, the readers hate us, yet, if we don't work in a snowstorm and get the paper out everyone is complaining about not having a paper.
  4. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Should we renamed the JTO board the "Doom and Gloom" board? It's getting pretty depressing over here.

    RE: the topic of this thread, I've always thought this would happen sooner or later. It's bound to. And judging by the mood around here lately, I would probably bet on sooner.
  5. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    The worst-paying profession in the world . . .
  6. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    Lots of other professions have had many more layoffs - car industry, factories, record companies, etc., etc., - and there hasn't been a rash of workplace shootings at those places. Anyone anywhere can snap, but I don't think it's more likely to happen at a newspaper now just because the industry's going through a bad time.
  7. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    I dunno about that.... is that backed up with facts?
  8. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    A laid of factory worker brought a gun to his plant the day after he was given a pink slip in my hometown. Nothing happened. He was wrestled to the ground before he could shoot anyone.

    As for building security. I now have to go through two locked doors via the "employees only" entrance to get my office. It used to be one.

    The main office is open 9-5, but to get to the newsroom it's two more lock-and-key doors. And at night, from the front, it's three locked doors.

    Management told us it's for protection from nutty citizens.
  9. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    I'm not doubting it could/will happen at some point. I just don't think it has anything to do with the inherent challenges of journalism or the current state of newspapers. I've worked with lots of people who we used to joke would go postal one day. It had nothing to do with the fact we were getting paid poorly or were worried about downsizing. It was because the people gave off the nutty vibe. Could getting laid off maybe set someone like that off? Sure. But so could a breakup with a girlfriend, a fight with their landlord or a thousand other things.
  10. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    Most of the workplace violence spawns from a termination.
  11. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    OR, it's keeping the nutty citizens locked inside away from the normal ones.
  12. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    But how many millions of people have been fired? How many have returned to kill their boss or co-workers? Again, I can definitely see it happening at a newspaper. But only because it can happen anywhere. I guess I'm just questioning the idea that there's something special about the newspaper industry that would lead to an increase in newsroom shootings. That being said, I've of course thought of escape plans if one of my coworkers does snap someday. Unfortunately I'm in a back corner far away from the door.

    And I still would be much more worried about a disgruntled reader or story subject coming in than a laid off employee.
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